“So what do you learn about money when you were a kid?”

Transcript of the podcast Uncle Jon, Can We Talk About Money?

Paulette: Uncle Jon.

Jon: Yes?

Paulette: Hi.

Jon: Hello.

Paulette: You’re being recorded. You’ve said a little bit, but now you’re being recorded.

Jon: I’m not sure I like this. What can I do for you?

Paulette: Well, so I started this big blog about why I’m so bad with money and so each month I’m talking with a different expert about money stuff. And the first one is a financial therapist. And she’s having me do like a financial money tree to see on both sides of my family what the situation with money was, if my experience was inherited. So one of the things that you guys can help me out with – you know I just asked my mom what money was like in her family when she was growing up, but I can’t ask my dad about that. It’d be nice to get just idea of the money situation my dad grew up in. So what do you learn about money when you were a kid?

Jon: Well, I remember that both if our parents for the most part worked two jobs. So I wouldn’t say we weren’t rich by any means, but I don’t feel that we were poor. I think we made due. I mean our dad didn’t make a lot of money, but he never missed a day at work and he worked an extra job. My mom worked an extra job in the mornings when she could. There was always food on the table and the bills were paid. We didn’t have a lot of extras. I remember one time when my dad was on strike, I was working on a part time at the grocery over the summer and I remember my mom having to ask me for my paycheck because my dad was on strike and wasn’t working. So I gave it to her gladly. I mean all that they did for us all those years, of course I didn’t want to give it up too plus that teaches you a lesson too. There wasn’t a lot of extras, but there was always food on the table. We always had clothes, but I wouldn’t say that my parents were – they certainly weren’t rich by any means.

Paulette: What do you remember them telling you about money? What did they teach you guys about money?

Jon: Well, my dad’s work ethic taught me that you know what? You go to work no matter what. Going to work is one of the most important things and that with both me and your father; we always went to work no matter what. I mean I watched my dad go to work sicker than a dog throwing up and stuff, but he always went to work no matter what. He never missed work and that went over all of us, all the kids. We always went to work. A lot of people think, especially kids today they’re taking off because they’ve got sniffles or they’ve got a little bit of a headache. Well, we went to work no matter what whether you felt good bad, unless you were sick enough to go see a doctor. And that’s the work ethic that we got from my mother and father. And that’s gone away. I mean I often see a lot of young kids saying they don’t have it; very few have that same work ethic.

Paulette: Yeah I agree. I mean I think one of the things that’s been really interesting in finding out these stories is to realize like the crazy hard work and sacrifice that my lifestyle is built on. I always joke that frugal is a very ugly word, but I really think that the word wasteful is ugly too. I don’t want to be wasteful when I have so much and then I just blow it, whatever opportunities that I’ve been given. I mean those are really sacrifices for generations that Aunt Janice was telling me about I think her great grandmother, your great grandmother who got on the train, who got on the train in Russia?

Jon: My mother’s mother.

Paulette: Your mother’s mother, wow. So your great grandmother watching her four daughters go off to America?

Jon: Yeah. I mean they went for a better life. I mean we have those opportunities here that aren’t in a lot of the places around the world. For a while when I was young before I met Aunt Karen, I had three jobs, I tended bar fulltime, I drove a limousine in the early mornings and I business on the side on the weekends.

Paulette: Oh my God.

Jon: I wanted money and never did I never not have money in my pocket after I became 18. I’d work three nights a week in the bar and some nights I’d get home at three o’clock in the morning and I had to be at the auction at 5 AM for a car wash, I still did it. But that’s the difference in some people between being successful and being just mediocre. That hard work ethic I think got me a lot of kudos and some promotions that maybe another guy wouldn’t have gotten going along, because I went the extra mile all the time, but that’s the way I was brought up. I’ve learned – when your father and I used to work for Frank, he always told that people who go the extra mile are the ones who get to that pot of gold in the end. But you can’t take that to think that – nobody ever makes quick, easy that doesn’t come to her. Everybody thinks they’re just a step away from making a big deal, those years a lot of hard work if you’re consistent and work hard and you do the right thing, you’ll be successful.

Paulette: I feel like I’m just figuring that out now, like I needed to fall in my face a few times and to really figure that out. And also to see that for some reason I think that our lives aren’t in perspective. Somehow we just don’t calculate our reality taking into the history of where our families came from, how people live elsewhere in the world and how people have lived in the last 100 years.

Jon: You’re young too. When I was young in my 20s, I spent money foolishly a lot. I always had money in my pocket, but I was a little concerned about saving. In my early 20s, I wasn’t married, I didn’t have any responsibilities, perhaps when you get a little bit older, you start to realize, “Hey you know what? Maybe I don’t really need to do that.” I mean it hit me once when we were still at 1105, and we were just married and we had the first kid, Alison. I was shopping and I used to get myself vitamins, the vitamins were $7. I put them back on the shelf. We couldn’t afford it. And that said something to me; I’ve got to work harder to get more ahead so I can have the things I want to have. Well, I have a good career to date. I’ve come a long way, but it wasn’t without sweat and a lot of blood, so.

Paulette: One of the things that I liked that you said about my dad is, “Your dad was always just kind of like, Yeah let’s do it. Like up for anything kind of person.” I think I’m so like my dad. One of my friends take a picture of me with my hand on my hips and I’m like, “Oh my God. I look just like my dad.” And when we were young and struggling, when he was trying for his business and I was just like, “Give me a corporate job all day, every day. Man I just want that steady paycheck.” Now here I am freelancing and don’t want anyone to be my boss, same stuff. And I feel like not being up for anything kind of personality is good, but then you have to temper it when it comes to money, because being able to say, “Yeah let’s do it,” and having fun all the time is good, but you can’t have too much fun where you put yourself in financial danger.

Jon:. Sometimes we always didn’t know that when we were younger. That comes with age and maturity and you learn that stuff. A lot of people say, “If I could have redone it, I would do certain things differently.” And that’s true. There’s a lot of things I would do the same, but there are some things I would have done differently. Hindsight is always 20/20. I didn’t save like I should have, stuff like that. You get more sense as you get older, although there are some older people who don’t have it either, actually a lot of guys I work with. So I have 240 employees and I have the range from the very good common sense to zero common sense. And I like to think that I always have good common sense and a good work ethic. I think that’s enough. When we hire someone, in fact given a choice, I would rather have someone with a lot of heart and good common sense than a person who is at smart at anything and he thinks he knows it all. Given the guy with the heart and who cares, that’s the guy who will help you be successful.

Paulette: So let you be in charge of 240 people, who made that decision?

Jon: What decision? That I run 240 people?

Paulette: Yeah.

Jon: I run the auction.

Paulette: Oh my gosh. What’s your position there now?

Jon: General Manager.

Paulette: General Manager?

Jon: Yeah.

Paulette: I’m interested in how your money styles evolved when you guys were kids, because when I think back to my best friends and I, when we were – when I started working at like 14, I’d be cashing my check, like I couldn’t wait to cash my check. And my best friend would open her wallet and I would see two or three uncashed checks in there and she was just a saver, she wasn’t a spender. So what did you notice among your siblings in differences with money style?

Jon: Well, they were older than I was. So when we were younger, I really didn’t realize what they were doing with their money. As we get older, that’s really your own business what you do with your own money once you become older. So you really don’t share that as much. Some people have better decisions in the best instance, others haven’t, but you don’t know about it, except for that.

Paulette: Yeah.

Jon: I mean I think the real thing is you’ve got be able to work hard, all four of us we’ve worked very hard and we weren’t afraid to work. To quote Jefferson: “I’m a firm believer in good luck and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.” You can make your own luck; you just have to work at it. Everything in most successful people comes down to hard work. You can’t be afraid of hard work. You’ve got to be able to put in your time, put in the extra time, learn more about your job, what you have to do. Those are the things that most people don’t do and they’re the ones who are always staying mediocre throughout their lives. And that’s okay for some people.

Paulette: Not the Perhachs.

Jon: Well, not for me. I mean I wouldn’t be satisfied with that. When I was younger, I didn’t really matter, but then you start to think about it and it does.

Paulette: Yeah. So like having to get in the work part done like I am right now. My life is all about writing and reading and reading and learning and like I’m all in with that stuff. And it still becomes about saving the money, being more careful with what I spend being selective with what I spend it on and not wasting the opportunities that I have gotten for myself to save and that my family has afforded me by this long history of generations of people exercising for the next generation. And you really see that start to waterfall down and I’ve come over last week to see it uglier and uglier the more that I waste these opportunities with my very quite frankly easy and fun work that I get to do being a writer. That’s about the best job that I can ask for.

Jon: Yeah you have to like what you do too. If you like what you do, you’ll never lack a day in your life right?

Paulette: Yeah.

Jon: I mean I love what I do even though there’s a lot of stress and a lot of problems and a lot of pressure from people above me, but I still love it every day going in. There’s no two days that are ever the same and that’s what I love and I’m good at fixing problems. That’s what I do. I’m not the smartest with a computer, I’m not the smartest with a lot of other stuff, but when there’s a problem, I can always bring that out and get it fixed. And as far as you saving, never think, “I can only save a dollar a week or whatever.” It adds up over time. You have to be consistent with your savings, you’ll be amazed how that stuff grows over the years and years go fast.

Paulette: Yeah. It’s crazy. I can’t believe I’m 25 already.

Jon: Yeah. So your uncle turns 60 this year, right?

Paulette: Are you sure?

Jon: Yeah I’m sure.

Paulette: Ayayay.

Jon: Ayayay.

Paulette: Now I’m 35.

Jon: I know, can you believe it?

Paulette: Oh my God! I don’t know. I like it. I’m having a lot of fun.

Jon: Good. Well, that’s important.

Paulette: This is good. I feel like my career is starting to blossom.

Jon: That’s good. That’s great. I’m very proud of you.

Paulette: Yeah. I never thought my career would be based on the f word, but that’s kind of what happened.

Jon: That’s all right. I get the f word yelled at me every Wednesday about 20 times a day.

Paulette: What happens on Wednesday?

Jon: Well it’s sale day and some dealers are always not happy with something that I do, so I normally get f you a few times a day.

Paulette: Oh well I just pictured when my dad was an umpire and people would try to yell at him and 6 foot 6 and he would just look at them and they were like, “Never mind.”

Jon: Yeah.

Paulette: Do you have any funny money stories of my dad.

Jon: He worked part time on a summer job at a place called 3M. It was a roofing plant. I usually worked there too in the summer a couple of times. I think he had a – I’m not sure if he had a paper route or not when we were young. I know he worked in a construction company over two summers. And then out of college, he became a police officer. And then after that, well you know the rest after that. I know we didn’t have a lot of money so it wasn’t like we would go out and spend a whole bunch on clothes. We got what we got every year and that was it.

Paulette: Yeah.

Jon: There wasn’t money to go and spend a whole bunch on stuff on whatever you wanted when we were young.

Paulette: Well thanks so much Uncle Jon. This has been awesome.

Jon: So where is this thing going to go?

Paulette: On the internet. Are you okay with that?

Jon: I guess. I guess. You’ll let me know when I can see it.

Paulette: Yes. I’ll let you know. I’ll send you a link.

Jon: I have no idea what a blog is.

Paulette: You don’t know what a blog is?

Jon: No idea.

Paulette: It’s just writing. It’s just a website where you write about stuff.

Jon: Yeah.

Paulette: All right.

Jon: Make sure you spell my name right then.

Paulette: All right. Love you.

Jon: All right Paulette. I love you. Be good. Be safe.

Paulette: All right, love you.

Jon: All right. Love you Paulette. Bye-bye.

Paulette: Bye.


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